DEAR ABBY: I'm active-duty military but retiring within a year with no plans for future employment as yet. My wife is 38 and I am 39. We have three children, ages 20, 18 and 15.
My wife has the urge to have another child, but I don't want to have another one. I have been looking forward to the time we would have alone with each other. I also know that our debt-to-income ratio is poor, and I was looking forward to climbing out of the red. Another child will not help things.
Our relationship has been rocky for the past four years -- and up and down most of our 19 years of marriage. However, we always managed to bounce back.
I'm afraid if I don't give in to another child, it will be the straw that breaks the camel's back, and she'll resent me to the point that we won't be able to get over it. We are in counseling, but it hasn't seemed to help. We are told to "compromise," but I don't know how to compromise over a situation like this. I'd do anything for her, but I just feel like this isn't the right thing for us to do at this point in our lives.
Please help me keep this family together and still make everyone happy. I really need your help. -- ROCK AND A HARD PLACE IN VIRGINIA
DEAR ROCK: Babies are blessings, but they can also stress a troubled marriage past the breaking point. Perhaps it's time you went for a different kind of counseling -- financial counseling. A financial counselor should be able to tell you if you can afford another child, and what the sacrifices will be if you do decide to have one.
Your marriage has always been troubled. I'm not sure you can keep your family together and make everyone happy. Three children do not seem to have brought you and your wife closer. It's important that you be true to yourself.